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AFC Cup 2018: Bengaluru FC's Albert Roca - Quick Aizawl FC can punish us

17:19 IST 04/04/2018
Bengaluru FC Chennaiyin FC ISL 2017/18 final
The Spanish coach is wary of their AFC Cup Group E opponents Aizawl FC....

Indian Super League (ISL) finalists Bengaluru FC are all set to renew rivalries with former I-League champions Aizawl FC when the two teams meet in Guwahati for a Group E AFC Cup 2018 encounter on Thursday. 

Bengaluru FC are coming after a 2-1 win over Gokulam Kerala in the Super Cup 2018 pre-quarterfinals and have two more fixtures lined up in the next 10 days apart from Thursday's game. 

However, Albert Roca seemed unconcerned about playing in multiple competitions in a short while. 

"Everyone knows that a successful club is involved in many tournaments and it is the same with Bengaluru FC since I joined," said Roca. 

"We play Aizawl on Thursday and then fly to Bengaluru to face New Radiant SC, after which we fly to Bhubaneswar again for the Super Cup quarterfinals. It is a tough schedule, but it is something that we take as a challenge and I am sure that my players will be ready for it."

"I can't say much about the squad composition at the moment. We're playing back-to-back matches in two competitions and I have to manage the squad as a coach. There might be a few changes, but we'll decide that later," he added when asked if he would rotate his squad as a result. 

He went on to sound a warning to his players, pointing out the threat that Santosh Kashyap's side carries. "Aizawl are a very good team with some skillful foreigners in key positions. We saw them when they played Chennaiyin FC in Bhubaneswar and we also followed their run in the I-League.

"It's no question that whoever plays for my team will have to give their best because we are playing a team that's very quick and can punish you at any moment," warned Roca. 

Bengaluru have already won their opening group game against Abahani Dhaka and will now be looking to take charge of the group by downing Aizawl FC. 

"It’s true that we have won our first game in the competition, but it’s important not to dwell on an advantage. Every team in the group is a strong contender for qualification and we have to be wary of that to avoid any slip ups," expressed the Spaniard. 

Roca did say that playing on the pitch at Guwahati, where Aizawl are playing their AFC Cup home games because their home ground was not approved by AFC, was a better prospect than playing on the artificial surface in Aizawl.

"It's not easy, but comfortable. I'm not a fan of the (artificial) pitch there in Aizawl. To play on a natural surface is better for everybody."